These words of wisdom were often shouted across the classroom whenever a student would approach Mr. Dibblee and shamefully admitted “I’ve lost my file”.  Mr. Dibblee is fondly remembered here at the shop and quoted often, since most of our staff have graduated from H.H.S.S. and may have heard it once or twice themselves. So isn’t saving your files as simple as “save early, save often”?

Unfortunately not.

The tragedy happens when you’ve diligently saved every file, photo and document to your hard drive and it get’s hacked. Or fails. Or overheats. Most people don’t realize the importance of having a backup until it is too late. Of course, when you have lost years of photos, school papers, business documents, e-mail archives, music, movies, or any other data that you cannot recover, the importance of having a backup becomes all too real.


40% of all data loss is due to hardware failure
29% of all data loss is due to human error
13% is due to software error (corrupt files)

9% is due to theft
6% is from viruses
3% is from Hardware destruction

There are 2 ways that you can safely and securely back up your files.

1. External Backup

Most of our clients have adopted the “external hard drive” option. We recommend that you look for a Solid State Drive (SSD) with at least one year warranty. Check out this video for proof that SSD’s are far more durable than regular hard drives. Backing up individual folders and files is as easy copying them from the source media (your computer’s hard disk) to the destination (an external hard drive).  The trick is remembering to run the backup on a regular basis. We recommend every 2-4 weeks for non-critical data. If you haven’t backed up your external drive, now would be a good time.

2. Online Backup (A.K.A. “The Cloud”)

The cloud simply represents the Internet. Any user with an Internet connection can access the cloud.  This is our FAVOURITE method of backup because if ALL your hardware fails, the inter-web gots yo back.

  • Dropbox.com is a free cloud service that is great for personal PC users (they’re Mac friendly too!). Simply download it to your computer and use it like your “My Documents” folder. Just as I mentioned in “School’s Out for Summer”, Dropbox has personally saved me from a stolen laptop, multiple moves around the city and stick fingered roommates who “borrowed” my USB key. If your old system bites the dust, just download Dropbox to your new system and you’re all set!
  • For business and heavier users like photographers (that includes Photography by Mom) we recommend The Vault. The Vault provides both online and local backup technology in one integrated package, being the first solution to enable you to backup any data, to any destination, at any time. Users can configure their backups to backup their entire computer to an external USB hard drive weekly, their My Documents folder to a network server nightly, and a very important document to the internet continuously, every time it changes (which is a necessity when your in the middle of tax season trying to reconcile 3 accounts).
  • If your a big Google user (Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Sheets) than Google Drive is another free service. Drive starts you with 15 GB of free Google online storage and your files in Drive can be reached from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. So wherever you go, your files follow.

We love hearing from your, so feel free to post in the comments below, send us an email [kait@mysolidstate.ca] or a tweet us @mysolidstate. If you’ve got a question or an IT horror story we’ll do our best to answer it quickly!